Coal Exports Surge to Highest Level Since 1991

Aaron Flint posted on April 10, 2012 14:01 :: 711 Views

MATTHEW BROWN,Associated Press

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Government data show that U.S. coal exports are at their highest level in decades because of strong overseas demand.

Department of Energy data analyzed by The Associated Press show coal exports topped 107 million tons of fuel worth $16 billion in 2011. That’s the most since 1991 and more than double the volume in 2006.

Much of the increase is driven by power-hungry Asian markets, including South Korea, China, India and Japan.

Coal, however, faces a tougher outlook in the U.S. Competition from cheap natural gas and costly new rules for power plants are eroding the fuel’s historic dominance in American electricity generation.

Mining companies want new or expanded coal ports on the West and Gulf coasts to increase their exports. Environmentalists are fighting the proposals.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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